Many people know Nick Chakwera as a pastor at the Malawi Assemblies of God Church. Some also know him as President Lazarus Chakwera’s son.
Yet others also know Nick as husband to gospel music songbird Rudo Mkukupa Chakwera. But what many do not realise is that Nick is a musician himself.
“I have actually been an instrument musician as I started playing the accordion at a tender age. Then from the age of 10, I started playing drums,” said Nick.
He said now he has decided to venture into full music as a voice musician with his first offering, a full album titled Nyimbo za Chitsotsombetso Volume One.
“I don’t consider myself a strong voice, but I can still carry a tune. I decided to make music because of the message that I have put in the song,” said Nick.
In line with the title Nyimbo za Chitsotsombetso, the album is full of songs with specific messages defending the Christian faith and rebuking some trends happening in the spiritual world.
“In every song, there is a truth that we are defending. There is something we are talking about that requires thinking and reflection and contemplation,” said Nick.
Using the stage name Asabu, derived from the title abusa or pastor in English, Nick resorts to pure reggae in the album.
“I love various music genres, but reggae is my favourite. It is repetitive and is easy to dance to,” he said.
A listen to the full album reveals Nick’s easiness on the microphone as he effortlessly projects his voice in line with the reggae tunes. The songs have distinctive reggae tunes with an impressive lead guitar and keyboards.
The messages are specific with the musician’s unapologetic tone in defending the Christian faith while rebuking some trends.
In No Ganja, Nick goes straight to the point that one does not need Indian hemp to feel or get close to Jah (God).
He said: “Some people smoke ganja and justify by saying the ‘weed’ makes them feel closer to God. I argue that nothing physical can make a person get closer to God. It is all spiritual. I know others use oil or water or even places, but that is not true. One can get closer to God through prayer.”
In Allergic to Nonsense, Nick brutally rebukes believers who just blindly follow what their leaders in church are telling them without even doing any basic thinking and critical analysis.
He said: “I detest lies and falsehoods, especially the ones that people maintain deliberately. I just don’t like lies. I like logical thinking and people should make logical conclusions based on reasoning or arguments to authority. I like to see correct thinking. It applies in a lot of areas such as church, politics, and the corporate world.”
Nick enlists help from his wife Rudo on two spiritual songs Ine Ntafunsa and Nothing But The Blood. She adds colour to the songs without outshining her husband.
In Ambuye Akhale Nanu, Nick turns a well-known chorus into a reggae song and it comes out nicely.
Other songs on the album are Mwatiyenjeza, Musaphe, Locus and Trillema.
The album was recorded by Shadreck Kalukusha. It was co-produced by JJ Munthali, but the main producer is Nick himself.
“My wife Rudo is my vocal coach. I know I do not have the strongest voice, but she helped me put my message across,” he said.
In an interview, one of Nick’s fans Henry Mbali said the pastor’s fresh approach is exciting.
“He is not your regular musician and his approach is not your everyday gospel music. He is not afraid to tackle controversial topics and offer his opinions on various matters affecting the growth of the body of Christ,” he said.
Describing his whole body of work, Nick said the album is all about defending his faith.
“As Christians, we have the right to defend our faith. We can debate about these issues and may only those with logical arguments win. After that we continue to coexist,” he said.
Nyimbo za Chitsotsombetso is out and the pastor is hoping to record another album soon.